PolitiFact Florida Examines Rick Scott's Claims On Visit Fl, Enterprise Fl

Feb 23, 2017
Originally published on February 22, 2017 11:24 am

Gov. Rick Scott has been on a very visible tour of the state recently, painting efforts to pare back on some of his programs as potential job-killers. WUSF's Steve Newborn looks at those claims with Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida.

One of the most visible battles in Tallahassee this legislative season is pitting some of Gov. Scott's most prized programs versus the political will of House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

The Land O'Lakes Republican wants to end what he calls "corporate welfare."  So he's targeting two programs: Visit Florida, the state's marketing arm, and Enterprise Florida, which gives incentives for businesses to relocate to the state.

His effort is being co-sponsored by Representative Paul Renner, a Republican from Palm Coast:

At a stop of the "Fighting for Florida’s Jobs" tour in Flagler Beach, Scott targeted Rep. Renner, R-Palm Coast.

"Your politicians in Tallahassee today are saying, in your area, that they don't need any more jobs," Scott said Feb. 13 to business leaders and constituents at Vessel Sandwich Co. "That is exactly what Rep. Paul Renner said."

Scott continued, "He said, 'I will sponsor the bill to eliminate marketing for tourists.' He sponsored the bill to do that and to get rid of Visit Florida."

Here's PolitiFact Florida's ruling on that:

His attack against Renner misrepresents Renner's view. There is no record of Renner saying exactly that his area doesn't need more jobs.

Scott press secretary Kerri Wyland said Scott’s point is focused on the effect of Renner’s proposal.

"By choosing to sponsor this job-killing legislation, Rep. Renner is telling families in the counties he serves that the area does not need more jobs," she said.

Renner doesn’t see the legislation as a crusade against jobs. He jokingly offered $100 to anyone who heard those words come out of his mouth.

When he introduced the bill, Renner brought up a philosophical difference with Scott about the fairness of economic incentives, arguing the money could be better spent to benefit more people.

"We should be taking the hundreds of millions of dollars we’re spending on the privileged few — those few companies that are able to navigate the system — for broad-based tax reform," Renner said Feb. 8 at the House Careers and Competition Subcommittee meeting. "Tax reform that benefits all businesses, small, medium and large, and if we do that we will continue to be one of the leading states in the country for job growth."

In an interview with PolitiFact Florida, Renner said he prefers tax money to be invested in public safety, infrastructure and education — not marketing campaigns (see "Sexy Beaches") or incentives. He’s also disappointed in executives for awarding bonuses and increasing salaries of executives with state dollars.

"I am sure he was speaking figuratively when he said that we're not in favor of jobs," Renner said of Scott. "The Florida House is full of people who believe in jobs and prosperity for everyone."

Our ruling

Renner supports legislation to eliminate funding for Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida, which Scott says will cost Florida jobs -- ergo, Renner supports losing jobs. Renner, naturally, sees it differently. He thinks the money would be better devoted to tax cuts.

The picture is far more complex than the broad brush Scott paints. We rate this claim Mostly False.

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